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Tamil Nadu’s Ranipet District Smashes Swiss Record to Create Two World Records On Their Own

Ranipet district of Tamil Nadu has been felicitated by the Elite World Records for their massive anti-plastic drive and mass plantation of palmyra palm seeds The anti-plastic drive involved 96,000 volunteers and collected 186.9 tonnes of plastic waste within three hours The administration created another record by planting 52.81 lakh palmyra palm seeds in five hours

Two consecutive world records within a short span of time! That’s what  the district administration of Ranipet, Tamil Nadu, achieved through their massive anti-plastic drive and mass planting of palmyra palm seeds, for which they were recently recognised and felicitated by the Elite World Records. In the plastic category, the previous record was held by Switzerland, which had set up a world record of a total of 127 tonnes of plastic in the year 2013.

Indian Masterminds spoke to District Collector of Ranipet, D Baskara Pandian, IAS, to get more details about both the initiatives that won them the world records.

ANTI-PLASTIC DRIVE

Armed with his experience of working for the environmental cause of removing plastic in the Nilgiris, District Collector D Baskara Pandian started removing plastics in Ranipet, too. He decided to remove the single-use plastics with the help of villagers, college students, and volunteers.

“We started to remove single-use plastics from the shops, hotels, food industry, liquor shops, and others. I conducted the drive personally and removed nearly 27 tones of single-use plastics from all the shops and hotels,” Mr. Pandian shared.

In the same manner, they started to remove plastics from 288 panchayats of the district. Thereafter, Mr. Pandian discussed with the Elite World Records and other people, who informed him that Switzerland had set up a world record of a total of 127 tonnes of plastic in the year 2013.

Anti-Plastic Drive

“This initiative was not to create a world record only. I thought that if we imbibe in the minds of people the importance of saving the environment and convince them to work towards that goal, at the same time, the same record can also be broken as early as possible. With this aim, I started this drive,” he said.

With this aim in view, the district administration started to inculcate in the minds of people that plastic is not environment friendly and they have to look for an alternative to it. 

“The birds and animals also eat the plastics. If you throw a plastic, it will go to the rivers, and the final destination is not the sea, but our kitchen where it will enter in the form of salt,” Mr. Pandian said.

The officer started the drive on May 27 this year and involved 96,000 volunteers. The drive was able to collect 186.9 tonnes of plastic waste within a time span of only three hours, thus, creating a word record.

PLAMYRA PALM SEED PLANTATION

After this, the Ranipet administration created yet another record by planting 52.81 lakh palmyra palm seeds in just five hours on October 3.

With the help of MNREGA, volunteers, and school children, the administration  collected nearly 55 lakhs of palm seeds from within the district, with the germination percentage at 90%. Next, they planned to plant the seeds within 5 hours, and 52.81 lakhs palm seeds were seeded successfully in the district.

Pamlyra Palm Seed Plantation

These palm seeds were planted at vantage points like tank bunds, avenues, main roads and arterial village roads after a detailed micro-level planning exercise at the block and village level.  

“I wanted to do something for mother earth. Even if you cannot do much, at least, plant a seed every day. This small step will help the birds and animals to survive. We are not the ones raising and protecting the forest, it is the animals and birds who are doing it and also protecting it. So, we should also do our bit for mother earth,” Mr. Pandian said.

He further shared that during the planting period, he felt that people started feeling that he is one amongst them, and with this mindset, they started sharing things with him. At the same time, they understood that they are working for a good cause, so they happily worked for the administration.

WHY PALMYRA PALM SEEDS

This year, Tamil Nadu targeted to plant 25 lakhs palmyra plant seed for all the 30 districts of the state. But, Ranipet district managed to plant 32.81 lakhs seeds and made a world record.

Palmyra palm seed is traditionally related to Tamil Nadu, and it is also the state tree. It can take in 2000-litres of water. Hence, during the tsunami, no palmyra palm tree fell, only the coconut trees did.

Palmyra Palm

Further, from its fruit, nungu, one can prepare healthy candy and jaggery, as it has many nutritional values. People can avoid sugar and instead consume this. Earlier, the leaves of this tree were used to make hand fans, too.

“Palmyra palm seeds is the symbol of rural economy and that is why we chose it,” the officer said.

PUBLIC REACTION 

After the district managed to create new world records, people celebrated the occasion like a village or family function, with banana tree planting and garlanding with colorful flags. “Lots of people came up to me to tell me that they were also thinking of planting like this, but, while they dreamed of it, I turned it into a reality,” Mr. Pandian said.

After news about the recognition from Elite World Records spread, appreciation has been pouring in not just from within Ranipet, but from all corners of rural Tamil Nadu, for this incredible feat.

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